Friday, July 21, 2017  



DéCOR: Designing with Panache

It all starts at the front door. Enter DéCOR: Design Center of Richmond and the first impression is liable to be “WOW!” Designed to showcase the very best that Richmond area artists, designers, and contractors have to offer, the premise is pure eye candy for those who love beautiful furnishings, fine art, fabulous wall treatments, lighting, textiles, and a host of decorating accessories.

Located just a half block off Cary Street in historic Carytown’s “Mile of Style”, DéCOR beckons shoppers to spend the day browsing through the eclectic collections of the very best talents in interior and exterior design set against a backdrop of tasteful mini vignettes where shoppers can admire, touch, stroke, and contemplate buying for their own homes.

Lush fabrics and fine furniture highlight fine carpets; rustic and crystal chandeliers hang side by side; funky day-glow recycled plastic chairs rub arms with classic upholstered pieces and glass topped tables; fine art and photography are tastefully arranged; and unique wall treatments turn bland walls into fine Venetian plaster, trompe l’oeil, raised ornamentation, and paper plique one just has to run fingers over to appreciate the subtle textures. Fine custom kitchen cabinetry, elegant ceramic garden stools, metal relief sculptures, storage solutions, and hand painted pillows draw you deeper into the center to sample all there is to see.

Our homes are all about shelter; a place of rest and refuge, a place to play, unwind, and replenish. Your home should work for you, not just the other way around, and every design and decorating choice you make should be based upon not only beauty but practicality. And whether your personal tastes are traditional, deco, vintage, retro, cottage, or contemporary, there’s something in DéCOR to please almost everyone, from the casual decorator to the avid connoisseur of fine furnishings.

Discovering your personal decorating style may be as easy as finding the perfect accessory to build a room around, or a bewildering set of conflicting styles and colors that you just can’t seem to bring together into a cohesive design. Whether you wish to discard unloved furniture, ditch the dull drapes and worn carpets, furnish a newly constructed space, or fill your outdoor room with subtle mood lighting, the staff of DéCOR is here to guide you.

DéCOR is a collaboration of two creative minds, president Andrew Chasen and director Marc Cates, each with skill sets that in tandem inspire the casual shopper and repeat client to use their critical eyes to see and their hearts to feel in order to define or redefine their personal design styles.

 Andrew opened Chasen Galleries of Fine Art & Glass on West Cary Street in Richmond in 1999, showcasing the work of some of the world’s most collectible contemporary painters and glass artists. “At Chasen Galleries we often heard complaints from our clients about contractors or vendors and they asked our opinions on who best to use,” Andrew explains.

As a Stanford University graduate with a degree in economics, Andrew grew up in the retail business in New Jersey, so his instincts for pleasing art clients was keen. He sensed an opportunity and when he met Marc Cates seven years ago, who a year and a half later joined Andrew at Chasen Galleries, Andrew knew he had found the perfect partner.

As the former District Merchandising Director for Dillard’s department stores, Marc’s creative talents for display and presentation truly impressed the gallery’s clientele. “As the idea for DéCOR coalesced, we both immediately knew it would be perfect for Marc to manage and guide.” Shortly after, Brandon Cates, with a background in art history and real estate, came onboard as Marc’s assistant, adding another artistic dimension to satisfy clients’ needs.
As members of the International Furnishings and Design Association, the team had met many talented and creative design industry folks over the years who were their logical first choices to approach for this new venture. DéCOR opened its doors in April 2012 with the hopes of becoming the area’s go-to place to see the latest trends in interior and exterior design.

As in fashion, home décor is constantly changing. Styles come and go and many clients will pay to stay on the cusp of the latest design trends. At DéCOR they can stroll through an ever changing landscape, all under one roof. You can select a single item without ever hiring a designer, knowing all the work has been done for you already. Or, if you are overwhelmed or undecided, DéCOR is there to connect you with the areas very best.

“This design center is open to the public,” Marc emphasizes. This isn’t only open for the trades. And we stand behind all our vendors and with a follow-up procedure when we make a referral” to ensure clients are totally satisfied with their shopping experience.

Vignettes are constantly changing. “Our vendors have free rein displaying their wares unless they want to showcase an item not related to home décor,” Marc points out. Some change their spaces weekly while others bring new items in as pieces sell.” With an ever evolving panorama, savvy shoppers know what’s there today may not be tomorrow.

In addition to their featured artists and designers, the center offers the outstanding framing services of John Fralin, with twenty-nine years experience creating stunning support structures for fine art, rare documents, heirlooms, and objects d’art.

On the center’s second floor Lorelle Rau of Chasen Galleries curates a revolving monthly art show, featuring primarily local artists hoping to grow their business. An intimate, tasteful retreat in a neutral palette provides the perfect backdrop to highlight art in a variety of genres.

“Our objective is to present the work of local, mid-level career artists, whose work will have an appeal not only to DéCOR’s patrons, but to the Richmond design community as well,” Lorelle explains. “Primarily, the artists we select must maintain a cohesive body of work and strong point of view.”

Next spring DéCOR has invited a local art dealer to curate a group exhibition from her network of artists in the southeast. They are also planning to curate shows and showcase artwork from the Chasen Galleries' outstanding collection.

The space also serves as a conference center for classes, demonstrations, and short lectures on a variety of design and decorating subjects. There will be several Wine and design events during the year bringing together a number of design topics dedicated to finding the perfect solutions for your decorating dilemmas. Please contact DeCOR for future invitations.

Rave reviews have greeted this budding business. “The reception has been fantastic,” Marc enthuses. “We already have repeat customers and people who say DéCOR is their favorite place!” Artists and designers love the collaborative approach, quickly filling all the spaces and there’s a waiting list.

But with any new business one can expect to receive a few complaints. “One woman approached Marc and complained she didn’t like the new colors of the building,” Andrew chuckles and then shrugs. He and Marc trust their instincts and so far it’s working.